THE family of Stafford has puzzled many a genealogist. The branches are numerous and are widely spread over many counties. As would be natural, springing as they all probably do, from the neighbouring county of Stafford; our own county of Derby can boast of at any rate two distinct families, both belonging to the northern part of the county - the Staffords of Eyam and the Staffords of Botham near Glossop. The writer of this article published a history of the Staffords of Eyam in the Journal some years ago. That history was compiled from original deeds and manuscripts, most of which were in the writer's own possession, and he wishes it were as possible to obtain sufficient material from which to construct a like consecutive history of the Staffords of Botham. The result of several years of research has not proved very remunerative. The writer, however, thinks that it is better to place on record the result of his work, even though it be doubtful in parts, rather than to shelve it in the rather forlorn hope that more material may be obtained, with the almost certain chance that what has been collected may never see the light.
Stafford of Bothamby C. E. B. BOWLES, M.A., F.S.A.
Botham Hall is in the township of Mellor, about 8 miles south-west from Glossop.
"The subordinate Manor of Mellor", says Lysons - p. 168 - "belonged at an early period to the ancient family of Mellor, one of whose coheiresses married Stafford [Page 51] in the 14th century. In the year 1704 Thomas Stafford of Stockport and Tristram his son sold the Manor of Mellor and Botham Hall in Mellor to James Chetham Gent. whose great-grandson Thomas Chetham Esqr. of Highgate in Middlesex sold the Botham Hall Estate in 1787 to Samuel Oldknow Esqr., the present proprietor". It was he who built the present "Botham Hall" on the site of the old house in 1809. It has been since then subdivided into three buildings. The sum given by Mr Oldknow for the capital "messuage called Botham Hall in Mellor and several lands there" was £1625.
It does not appear that the estate was ever a large one, nor that any member of the family who owned it has at any time made a mark in the history of his county. This may account for the difficulty the writer has found in obtaining the requisite material for this article. It has been stated by more than one genealogist that this family was descended from the Baronial family, but though the descent has been shown in several pedigrees, it has never been really much more than guesswork. The family bore the same arms as the Staffords of Eyam, viz.: "Or a chevron gules between three martlets sable". only that the chevron is charged with a mullet for a difference. This fact has given rise to the suggestion made by more than one that an ancestor might probably be found in one of the cadets of that family. The compiler of this history, however, can find nothing which can warrant such a suggestion in any of the numerous charters and deeds which he has searched when writing the history of the Staffords of Eyam.
It is more than probable that both these North Derbyshire families sprang from the Baronial Home though the proof is wanting. The first Stafford who is connected with Botham is William, who married Margaret, daughter [Page 52] and coheir of Roger de Mellor. This marriage brought him, in right of his wife, the Botham Hall estate. He has been pronounced by more than one genealogist to have been at the son of Robert de Stafford, living in 1331, who was the son of William de Stafford, and he, as the son of another William de Stafford, the brother of Edmond, created by writ first Baron de Stafford in 1298, is therefore directly attached to the old Baronial House.
This may of course be true but at present no proof has been produced that it is so.
Even from this William de Stafford, who is stated to have been in possession of Botham Hall and lands in right of his wife, the descent is very uncertain, and contradictory - see the Pedigree opposite page 50.
The marriage took place some time in the fourteenth century, except the year is uncertain, and the only son of that marriage on record is Henry de Stafford who married Emma or Eleanor the daughter of Thomas Bagshawe of the Ridge near Chapel-en-le-Frith. According to the pedigree he was alive in 1403 and was succeeded in the Botham estates by his son Wm. de Stafford, whose son Thomas, stated to be alive in 1449, left as his heir Henry, who died about the year 1484. The son of this Henry is the first in the Visitation of 1662-3 by Sir William Dugdale and bears the unique name of Judde, which even now is in common use in that neighbourhood as an abbreviation of George. There was a Judas Stafford - if Mr Pym Yeatman is correct - in that neighbourhood alive from 1517 to 1522, who might have been identical with this Judde Stafford. As it is a name most [Page 53] people would avoid when they searched the Scriptures for a name for their son Mr. Yeatman has possibly misread it. Judde Stafford, at any rate, he is named in the Visitation and also in the panel on the Jury on which he sat, together with Peter Pole, Thomas Bradshaw and John Gell of Hopton and others which was summoned early in 1500 to try a case against Reynold Legh for trespass on land belonging to Henry Bradshawe of Bradshaw.
"Judde Stafford of Botham Hall in p'ish of Glossop" is the exact wording of the Heralds which stands at the head of the pedigree of this family in Dugdale's Visitation of the county of Derby in 1662, and he is there stated to have married Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Ashton of Ashton-under-Lyne, and to have had a daughter Margaret, who married Robert Radcliffe of Mellor, and one son, John Stafford, who married the daughter of John Fydd. The pedigree in the Harl. MSS. gives also Laurentius "Clericus" and William who married first Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Columbell, of Darley by Beatrice daughter of John Bradbourne, relict of Gilbert Kneveton of Youlgreave, and secondly, Isabella Sutton of Cheshire, and thirdly, Isabella, daughter of Thomas Eyam of Lancashire. William, however, was the eldest son and inherited the Botham Hall estate but left no issue by any of his three wives though to him the MS. gives the whole of the family usually ascribed to John. If the following will is that of this same John, no other proof is required that he is the progenitor of the future possessors of the Botham estate.
There are very few wills obtainable of any of the Derbyshire Staffords and it seems most probable that this will of John Stafford, "of the Clff", is that of John, the son of Judde, for reasons given hereafter.[Page 54]
Will dated 11 June 1556 - Proved 15 April 1556 (sic) at Lichfield.
To be buried in the parish Church of Glossop.
Jane my wife to have the third of my goods.
The other two parts to be divided equally amongst my children yt ys to wyt Wyllm Rabart John George Raull Otwell & Thomas grace Alys Jane & esabell
My wife & children to occupy the land I have in pointon & a house & ground I have in Offerton called caldwayes
Executors - Jane my wife my son Laurence Stafford and my brother in law Nycholas Fydler the p'son of Tacsall
Supervisor - Wyllyam my brother
Witnesses - Rauff Bradley Humfrey Stafford of the Shae and Renold Beley
Inventory not dated
Appraisers - Humfrey Stafford Thomas Arnefeld Thomas Coterell & John Meller
Debts owing to Mayster Wyllm Stafford Wyllm Stafford the yonger & Lawrence Stafford & Sr Edward ......
Proved by ......... (There is no Act on the Will or Entry in the Act Book)
As regards the probability that John Stafford of the Clyff is identical with John the second son of Judde, his family is the same as given in the MS. at Queen's College, Oxford. The date of the will is quite a possible one. It will be noticed that in it he mentions his brother-in-law as Nicholas Fydler, and that the Visitation gives the name of his wife as Fydd. This is quite near enough to the correct name for the Heralds of that date, who were never remarkable for correctness in names and relationships. In the will it will be observed that Laurence, evidently named after his uncle Laurence, the priest, is mentioned with his mother as executor. He would therefore presumably be the eldest. In the Visitation, his son Laurence, ultimate successor to his uncle William in the Botham estate, is the only one [Page 55] mentioned. On him the estate would probably have been settled, and therefore his name would not be mentioned with the younger children, among whom were divided two thirds the the goods, while the other third was left to the widow. It will be noticed that he mentions William, his brother, as still alive. William, the younger, is probably his son who married Alice, a daughter of Radcliffe of Mellor. This agrees with the pedigree in the Harl. MSS. Among the witnesses is one Humfrey Stafford of the Shae, or Shaw, as it is usually written. The Staffords of the Shaw, though probably an offshoot, were certainly a distinct family and in existence as early as 18th September, 2 Henry V (1414), the date of a marriage settlement in the possession of Sir Edward Cotton Jodrell of Shallcross and Yeadsley, in which John de Stafford of Shaw occurs as one of the bondsmen to secure payment of a sum of money. This quite upsets the theory suggested by Adam Wolley in a letter to a Mrs. Shaw, the answer to which is preserved among his MSS. in the British Museum, dated August, 1820. He says:- "I have many different copies of the pedigree of the Staffords of Botham's Hall but none of the branch which you state to have settled at Shaw and Sponds and therefore am unable to lend you any assistance in continuing the pedigree of that branch from John Stafford who is stated to have been the younger brother of Laurence Stafford of Botham Hall." "The Shaw", pronounced Shay, still exists, and is a farm lying between Mellor and New Mills. As will be seen in John Stafford's will, the John alluded to in Wolley's letter appears to be the fourth son. He married "Margery Moore" and probably died soon after his father, if the following will from the Lichfield Act Book be his:- "John Stafford of the parish of Glossop [Page 56] proved 16 Sept 1558 by Laurence Stafford the executor". The Stafford wills however, are very puzzling, for there is another John Stafford of the parish of Glossop, administration to which was granted to Clementie the relict and Ralph Stafford, the son of the deceased, on the 15th of April, 1556, which it will be noted is the exact date of the will of John Stafford of The Clyff. There are still existent in Mellor parish a Higher and Lower Clyff. Lawrence, the eldest son of John Stafford - the only one mentioned in the Visitation - succeeded to the Botham estate on the death of his uncle William. He married Elizabeth Platton or Plattes of Park Hall in Hayfield, by whom he had (according to the pedigree) three daughters - Isabella, Anna and Emma, and two sons, William the elder, and Robert. Robert is however the only son mentioned in the Visitation, and it was his descendants without doubt who eventually carried on the family, but the eldest son William, who is stated by one authority to have married Mary, daughter of George Needham of Thornsett, and who in all the known pedigrees is said to have died leaving no issue, appears by the careful consideration of the following manuscript not only to have succeeded to Botham but to have left a son William, who followed his father and was in possession of that estate in 1624. The manuscript has never before been published and is one of the many MSS. and deeds which have descended to the writer from his Bradshaw ancestors. Francis Bradshawe, in whose custody William Stafford's goods had been placed, was the eldest son of Francis Bradshawe of Bradshaw and Anne one of the coheiresses of Humphrey Stafford of Eyam, and some genealogists might see in this a suggestion of a relationship between the two families of Stafford. Francis Bradshawe was probably however [Page 57] applied to as the most accessible of the County Magistrates at the time.
To the baylife of the High Peeke & to my Bailife for this turne only William Mellor
Theise are vertue of myne office to comande & charge you that you replevin certyn goodes beddinge & househould stuffe in the value of nine poundes which William Stafforde late of Bothams deceased left to the custodie of Francis Bradshawe Esqr which the said Francis Bradshawe keepeth & withhouldeth & them safely deliver or cause to be delivered by a trew note or inventorie in writinge indented unto William Stafforde now of Bothams aforesaid administrator of the goods & chattels of the saide William Stafforde deceased & so that you returne this warrant unto me at the next courte houlden for the libtye aforesaide.Given under my hande & seale the xiiijth day off Julye in the xxijth yeare of the Raigne of our Sovereign Lord James by the grace of God Kinge of England France & Ireland and of Scotland the lvijth Anno Domi 1624
Among the Wolley charters is an assignment for £120 by Wm. Stafford of the Bottoms, gent., to Francis Bradshawe of Bradshawe, Esqr., of a lease for 60 years of a shop in Bakewell, held of John Manners of Bakewell. As this is dated 22nd July, 21 James I (1623), it is not easy to determine as to whether it is father or son.
Here is another manuscript, also one of the Bradshawe collection, and hitherto unpublished, which proves that the above William Stafford only survived his father seven years, and that in the year 1631 the Botham estate was owned by Thomas Stafford a minor, who will, without doubt, be identical with the Thomas, who according to the Visitation pedigree was the son of Tristram and grandson of Robert, the uncle of the last owner, and succeeded to the estate. It will be seen on reading the manuscript that one Francis Stafford made a forcible entry into Botham Hall and claimed the right to stay there. Who he was, there is no evidence to show. That he seemed to think he had a right to be there and persisted in that right and that he was aggrieved at being turned out is evident. This suggests the possibility that he was a natural son of the last possessor or of his father. His name at any rate is unknown in the pedigree.
Another son named Lawrence was born in 1634 but he also died an infant in 1636, in which year his eldest daughter Elizabeth was born, who married William Anson, from whom, as will be seen by a glance at the pedigree opposite page 50, the Earls of Lichfield are descended. The next son Tristram, his successor, was born in 1638 and Robert in 1639. His two sisters Rachel and Mary follow, and in the same year that Thomas Stafford himself died, namely, in 1644, another Thomas was born, who died S.P. in April, 1684. The will of Thomas Stafford of Mellor, probably the same man, proved that year, stated that John Stafford of ye Shawe had some silk stockings belonging to him.
Robert the third son is said to have married a widow Sidebotham and to have had two sons; John born 1668, died 1743; and Thomas born 1669, died 1716. Both of them are said to have settled in London and from the [Page 61] elder a family is stated to have descended, who in 1765 changed their name from Stafford to Strafford. In the Glossop Registers is the marriage of a Tristam Stafford in 1669 to Ellen Bennett, who probably belongs to this family and possible is another son of Robert.
Tristram Stafford appears to have been but six years old on his father's death in 1644. He was born in 1638 and died at the age of 40 in Septembr, 1678, and so far as can be ascertained, left only one child - his son Tristram. His wife was Christiana, daughter of Thomas Jobson of Cudworth, by Ann daughter of Nicholas Stringer of Sutton-upon-Lound, county Notts. to whom he was married October, 1656, the banns having been published the 5th, 12th and 19th of that month. It is perhaps worth mentioning that Christiana's grandmother, on her father's side, the wife of Thomas Jobson of Cudworth, is the only known case of a female baronet. She was the daughter and heiress of William Witham of Ledstone Park, county York. Born in 1575, she, as the widow of Thomas Jobson, remarried as his second wife Thomas Bolles of Osberton Halll, Notts, and was created a baronetess in her own right by Charles I. She died at Heath Hall, county York, 1662.
Christiana Stafford's brother, Wm. Jobson of Cudworth and Heath Halll, was also created a baronet, and his daughter and sole heir married Robert Ridgway, 4th Earl of Londonderry.
Christiana survived her husband Tristram Stafford over ten years. In her will, dated 1st March, 1688-9, she directed that she should be buried in the chancel rails in the chapel of Mellor, and left legacies to her daughter Staveley, her daughter Heskey, her cousin the wife of [Page 62] Bagshawe of Bakewell, and her cousin Legh of Park Hall. Her son Thomas Stafford, sole executor and residuary legatee, proved the will 4th October, 1689; John Stafford being witness. He was probably her nephew, the son of Robert. Thomas Stafford was born in 1662, the date of Dugdaale's Visitation, where he appears as the last member of the family, which, so far as Botham Hall is concerned, in very truth he was, as he is the man alluded to on page 51 as having sold the estate in conjunction with his son Tristram in 7004.
Among the Wolley charters is acquittance by Thomas Bradshaw of Bakewell, gent., and Thomas Stafford of Bothams Hall in Glossop, Esqr., to Thomas Brown of Wirksworth, Archdeacon of Derby, for £600, Dated 25 April, 1 James II (1685).
In 1701 at the election of the Knights of the Shire Thomas Stafford of Bothams, Esqr., voted for Messrs. Curzon and Coke, giving Botham as his qualification. He married Ann, by whom he had one son, Tristram, and two daughters, Barbara and Elizabeth. They were living in Stockport at the time that Botham Hall was sold in 1704, as stated on page 51. The estate was heavily mortgaged at that time and the family were living in a very impecunious state.
In vol. xvi, page 192 of Jewitt's Reliquary occurs the following notice of members of this family, who had taken up their abode in Manchester, but it seems impossible to place them in the family history:-
Thomas, son of Thomas Stafford gent bapt 16 July 1710[Page 63]
On an old tombstone which formerly existed in the graveyard of Manchester Cathedral, but which has now disappeared, was the following inscription, the arms being those of the Staffords of Botham:-
"Sarah his wife burd Nov: 19 1717.
All the three boys then of John and Sarah Stafford died in their infancy and lie buried with their father and mother. Frances the daughter alone appears to have survived.
This is all that the writer can gather of this family : it remains for some other genealogist to work upon these notes, and complete the history of the Staffords of Botham.Notes: